As the end of the year approaches, when summer is but a distant memory, people tend to find themselves surrounded by couples (or in a relationship themselves). This period of autumn/winter, better known as “cuffing season,” is prime time for fireside cuddling, movie marathons and cozying up with a big mug of hot cocoa…all with a “special someone”.
While a study by eHarmony claims that people tend to avoid first dates in the winter, a study by Archives of Sexual Behavior found that Google searches for pornography, prostitution and online dating peaked between December and March. Facebook data reveals that most relationships are started in winter months, but there is a massive increase in breakups between March and August. This bizarre biannual dating pattern can be explained by a few theories.
First: in the summer, everyone is in the skimpiest clothes they can find, so it’s tough to find just one person to settle down with. Everyone looks good and we definitely take notice, but in the winter, everyone starts to layer as many oversized clothes on as possible, so dating becomes more of a mental and emotional game. We start to look for people that we can see ourselves with long term (even though, let’s be honest, you’ll probably break up by March when everyone’s jackets start peeling off).
Second: Seasonal Affective Disorder (yes, the acronym is literally SAD) is something that happens to a lot of people. Our natural Circadian rhythms hate the shorter days and we start to get a little depressed in the cold. Our brain chemistry starts to go a little haywire. Going out seems like a huge obstacle, shaving is useless and laying in bed seems to be like the best option. So we find someone that wants to lay in bed with us, both stubbly and both in sweats. Add a cozy fire and some wine or cider and then it somehow becomes a romantic night in – voila!
Third: everyone’s doing it. We see our friends all giddy and we want a piece of that action. And as we start to see less possibility, we really want in on it. People want what they can’t have, so the lack of mates makes people run around trying to catch all the eligible babes before it’s too late and they’re all alone for the holidays. No one wants to be that person sitting at home on Facebook while everyone else is getting some action on a bearskin rug in front of a roaring fire next to the Christmas tree.
Lastly: we’re bored. There’s significantly less to do in the winter – school ends, people head home for the break (and those who stay are too sucked into a Netflix marathon to hang out). With less people around, we find ourselves settling down with someone who wants to “do nothing” with us. It’s a relatively simple solution if you’re not picky.
During cuffing season, though, it’s important to remember that your relationship probably won’t make it past March. It’s kind of useless to put in so much effort, money and time into something that is really just a seasonal trend. My suggested solution is to find a cuffing partner: someone who understands that this may not last forever and you don’t have to buy each other presents and whatnot. Find someone who mutually agrees that it’s okay for you to use each other for the companionship – and if it happens to turn into something more, then so be it. Just don’t put too much emotion into something that is (more than likely) just superficial.